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Series Review: The Program by Suzanne Young

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

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booksynopsis

Synopsis for The Program (from Goodreads):
In Sloane’s world, true feelings are forbidden, teen suicide is an epidemic, and the only solution is The Program.

Sloane knows better than to cry in front of anyone. With suicide now an international epidemic, one outburst could land her in The Program, the only proven course of treatment. Sloane’s parents have already lost one child; Sloane knows they’ll do anything to keep her alive. She also knows that everyone who’s been through The Program returns as a blank slate. Because their depression is gone—but so are their memories.

Under constant surveillance at home and at school, Sloane puts on a brave face and keeps her feelings buried as deep as she can. The only person Sloane can be herself with is James. He’s promised to keep them both safe and out of treatment, and Sloane knows their love is strong enough to withstand anything. But despite the promises they made to each other, it’s getting harder to hide the truth. They are both growing weaker. Depression is setting in. And The Program is coming for them.

breakdown

Series: The Program
Author: Suzanne Young
# of Books: 4 (The Remedy, The Epidemic, The Program, The Treatment)

There is also a novella after The Treatment called The Recovery

Book Order: Chronological & Connected

The Remedy & The Epidemic are paired; The Program and The Treatment are paired

Complete?: No, The Epidemic will be published April 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Romance
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: April 2013 – ongoing
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

NOTE: I have not read The Remedy.  See why not below…

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

Suzanne Young’s A Need So Beautiful was one of the first books I put on my TBR once I started keeping an actual list. I have yet to read it. Shocking, I know 😉

What drew me to The Program was the cover. The bright yellow in a very white clinical setting? Call me intrigued. And when I read the synopsis? Even more intrigued. So I put my name on the holds list, eagerly awaiting there arrival

The Remedy + The Epidemic vs The Program + The Treatment

I just want to set the record straight about these books. This series contains 4 books, but they are two dual sets. The RemedyThe Epidemic are one duology focusing on one set of characters and The Program & The Treatment follow a different set. All take place within the same world. The Remedy is listed as a prequel to The Program as its events precede the events in The Program; it was published a few years after The Program.

I chose to read The Program & The Treatment first. I have also decided to further break up my headings into subheadings to review keep each duology separate.

The Concept:

The Program & The TREATMENT

The idea that there is a massive epidemic of young people committing suicide is a rather morbid basis for a book albeit unique. It is a tough topic to handle but one I think Young does well (though I wish there was a little blurb at the end about suicide prevention/information). It doesn’t glorify it and I think it shows the impact suicide can have on someone’s family and friends really well. It helps shed light on an issue we often shy away from in society.

The Plot:

THE PROGRAM & THE TREATMENT

The plot for The Program is extremely slow! Nothing really happens until the halfway point and even then, it’s a slow incline. The first half really establishes the world and the relationships Sloane has. I personally could of had half the number of pages and still had the main idea. I found it to be dull and because it deals with such a depressing topic, it isn’t a very uplifting read, making it hard to get through at times.

Once we actually get to the nitty-gritty of the epidemic, that’s when things get interesting and The Treatment keeps the pace going…for all of 10 pages. WOW, I didn’t think things could get duller but they did! This book was a lot of waiting around and romantic pining. WAYYY too much focus on the romance! I did appreciate the science fiction elements when they were there but, I wanted more. I wanted so much more that I almost quit reading just before the halfway point. But the need for answers (ie why the epidemic? why the program?) had me reluctantly pressing forward.

The Characters:

THE PROGRAM & THE TREATMENT

Sloane was incredibly dull to me. I didn’t love her, but I didn’t hate her either–which is not good. Indifference is the death to any character and poor Sloane just never managed to get me on her side. While I understand her difficult situation and why she isn’t the first person jumping at the opportunity to save the world (I actually found that lack of motivation oddly refreshing), I just really wanted her to DO SOMETHING! Something other than pining for James or the other person in her unnecessary love triangle.

I didn’t really connect with any of the characters and that made reading this not as enjoyable as I had hoped.

The Romance:

THE PROGRAM & THE TREATMENT

I don’t really enjoy stories where the romance is already established. I like watching couples fall in love as I read and with Sloane and James, they have already been a couple for a while. Don’t get me wrong, they are cute and I like them together. But they are that nauseatingly cute couple that get too sugary sweet as you read. So by the time I got to The Treatment, I was a little over them as a couple. Oh, and it didn’t help that there are love triangles abound with them as well. It’s not a good thing when the romantic relationships can’t even save the dull plot.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I’m really, really undecided about reading The Remedy. I’m really intrigued by the premise and I want to give these new characters a shot. But at this moment, I’m holding off on picking it up.

THE PROGRAM & THE TREATMENT

Series Rating: 2.5/5

The Remedy TBD | The Epidemic TBP | The Program 3/5 | The Treatment 2/5

overall

The Treatment was a huge disappointment. I wanted a science fiction YA with a dash of romance; but instead, we get a YA romance with a dash of science fiction. In the end, The Program wasn’t for me!

Read if You Like: dystopian worlds, lots of romance, books about mental illness
Avoid if You: want more action

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Single Sundays: Mechanica by Betsy Cornwall

Single Sundays: While this blog may be focused on reviewing book series as a whole, we can’t forget about the good ole’ standalone novel! On Sundays, I will review a novel that is considered to be a standalone novel. Here is this week’s offering:

Synopsis for Mechanica (from Goodreads):
Nicolette’s awful stepsisters call her “Mechanica” to demean her, but the nickname fits: she learned to be an inventor at her mother’s knee. Her mom is gone now, though, and the Steps have turned her into a servant in her own home.

But on her sixteenth birthday, Nicolette discovers a secret workshop in the cellar and begins to dare to imagine a new life for herself. Could the mysterious books and tools hidden there—and the mechanical menagerie, led by a tiny metal horse named Jules—be the key to escaping her dreary existence? With a technological exposition and royal ball on the horizon, the timing might just be perfect for Nicolette to earn her freedom at last.

Gorgeous prose and themes of social justice and family shine in this richly imagined Cinderella retelling about an indomitable inventor who finds her prince . . . but realizes she doesn’t want a fairy tale happy ending after all.

breakdown

Author: Betsy Cornwall
Genre: Young Adult, Retelling, Steampunk, Romance, Magic, Faeries
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: August 25, 2015
Source & Format: Netgalley–eBook  Thank you very muchHoughton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s Book Group!

disclaimernetgalley

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

When I first got my Netgalley account, this book captured my attention for its title and cover. And then when I read the synopsis, I really wanted to requested it. I love fairy tale retellings and a steampunk retelling of Cinderella? That’s just a major bonus!

Needless to say, I was really excited when I requested, got approved and finally picked it up.

The Concept / The World:

The steampunk application to the traditional (ok, the Disney Animated version of Cinderella) was really well done. I liked how mechanical creatures replaced the mice and how the magic was replaced with the machines Nicolette had made. It gave the story a gritter feel than the medieval story Cinderella is usually told in.

I also thought it was explained very well. There are lots of pages dedicated to Nicolette describing her mother’s work–too much if you ask me, but it helped me to get a good idea of the world this story was taking place in. However, that kinda fell apart at the end but that might have just been me reading the book to fast to fully grasp what was happening.

The Plot:

This is where the book fell apart for me. Nothing really happens for 200 pages and that makes it hard to get into. Which is a shame, because I was definitely enamoured with the world we are presented in the first 50 pages. Those pages flew by as I learned more about the politics, the faeries and the mechanics (literally) of the world. But then, it just kept going and I felt like too much time was spent in the past recalling Nicolette’s tough childhood. It really isn’t until the last 100 pages (FYI, my PDF eBook was 306 pages in length) that we get an actual story happening but at that point my interest was waning (which is a shame because I loved the approach it took for the ending).

If things were paced better, and the focus was more on certain plot aspects and less on others, this book would have been great! Because all the right gears were there, they just weren’t aligned properly to keep this flow going (see what I did there? :P).

The Characters:

I really appreciated Nicolette’s determination to fix her own problems. She isn’t some damsel in distress waiting for someone else to save her. Traditionally, (again, Disney animated version) Cinderella is just too nice to do anything about her situation (ie she’s a bit of a doormat) and thus relies on others (aka her fairy godmother) to solve her problems. Nicolette really doesn’t rely on others in the same sense. When she sees an opportunity, she goes for it and I really admire that. So much time is spent recalling her past, you do feel for her and want to see her succeed.

As for the rest of cast, they were exactly what you would expect and get very little air time.

The Romance:

I have mixed feelings about this. I kinda liked that the romantic side of things wasn’t the main focus of the story. You know, for the longest time I even forgot that there was a romantic plot in this story because so much time is spent watching Nicolette grow as a character.

But at the same time, I was hoping the romantic story would save the otherwise dry plot and give me something to be interested in.

My Rating: 2.5/5

overall

This is a classic example of a book simply missing its mark and it is a real shame! There are so many great take-away messages in this book: that it is ok for girls to fight for their own destiny; that you don’t always need someone to save you and that it is OK to be interested in fields usually “reserved” for the opposite gender. All these messages are winners in my eyes and ones that girls SHOULD associate with a story like Cinderella.

Read if You Like: fairy tale retellings, steampunk, coming of age stories
Avoid if You: don’t like slow paced books, want a faster/exciting plot, want more romance

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Series Review: Stripped by Jasinda Wild

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Stripped (from Goodreads):
So how did I get myself into this situation, you ask? Simple: desperation. When you’re faced with being homeless and hungry or taking off your clothes for money, the choice is easier than you’d imagine. That doesn’t make it easy, though. Oh no. I hate it, in fact. There’s nothing I’d like more than to quit and never go into another bar again, never hear the techno beat pulsing in my ears again, never feel the lecherous gazes of horny men again.

Then, one day, I meet a man. He’s in my club, front and center. He watches me do my routine, and his gaze is full of hunger. Not the kind of desire I’m used to though. It’s something different. Something hotter, deeper, and more possessive. I know who he is; of course I do. Everyone knows who Dawson Kellor is. He’s People Magazine’s Sexiest Man alive. He’s the hottest actor in Hollywood. He’s the man hand-picked for the role of Rhett Butler in the long-awaited remake of Gone With the Wind.

He’s the kind of man who can have any woman in the entire world with a mere crook of his finger. So what’s he doing looking at me like he has to have me? And how do I resist him when he looks at me with those intoxicating, changeable, quicksilver eyes?

I’m a virgin, and he’s an American icon of male sexuality. I’m a stripper, and he’s a man used to getting anything and everything he wants. And he wants me. I know I should say no, I know he’s the worst kind of player…but what my mind knows, my body and my heart may not.

And then things get complicated.

breakdown

Series: Stripped
Author: Jasinda Wilder
# of Books: 2 (Stripped, Trashed)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Yes? I think so.
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Drama, Contemporary, Celebrity
Heat Rating: hot (closer to the end in Stripped; from the start and throughout Trashed)
Point of View: First Person, Single (Stripped); Alternating (Trashed)
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

Jasinda Wilder first came across my radar with her Falling Series. I have most of the books from that series waiting to be read on my Kobo (and some other freebies from her) but I haven’t managed to read them yet. When I came across these two books at my library and read the concept for Stripped, I decided to pick them up as quick romance reads.

I like unconventional romances–they are nice breaks from the everyday love story. Plus, I like the fictional element to it. Lots of girls like the fantasy that a rich, handsome actor/celebrity will notice regular-old them and I am no exception. Do I let it consume my every thought?–of course not, but I like that fiction let’s me imagine it could be me one day.

Unfortunately, Stripped was just plain boring. Grey was one of the dullest heroines I have ever encountered. I truly think that she was crying every three pages about something–which is fine considering her life hasn’t been all that easy–but it just got so exhausting to read about. I really felt indifferent to her as I read through the book.

The romance was also dull, and if it wasn’t dull, it was cheesy. I knew it was going to be a love at first sight story as soon as I picked it up but I was hoping for some good sexual tension between the two of them but that never happened! First, it is nearly 50 pages (eBook) before Dawson is even introduced–which is just too long when nothing else is really happening plot-wise and especially in a book slated as a romance. Then they speak together twice before he is undeniably in love with her and decides to chase her. I just didn’t see the connection whatsoever between them.

What also really bothered me was that there was no fallout/consequences from her career as a stripper. Every little problem that was introduced is neatly tied up inexplicably and I guess I just wanted something to happen that would capture my attention.

Trashed on the other hand was more solid to me. It wasn’t the greatest romance novel ever but at least it had more substance to it than Stripped did. The characters just seemed better developed to me and so did the romance. Despite its “deep-connection” roots I could actually see why these two characters liked each other. Overall it was an improvement over Stripped.

I’m not sure if there will be any more books in this series but if there were, I’m not sure if I would read them. I suppose it depends on the premise and what my experience is with Ms Wilder’s other novels. These novels haven’t turned me off of her other works but perhaps have changed my expectations for them.

My Rating: 2/5

overall

These books could have been really great but they just felt underdeveloped. They weren’t dramatic and they weren’t overly realistic either so they just come across as underwhelming. But if you want quick, cheesy romances these are great summer reads!

Read if You Like: cheesy romances, quick reads
Avoid if You: like more drama, want stronger character development
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Series Review: IFICS by Julia Crane

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:
IFICS series By Julia CraneReview

Freak Fractured

Series: IFICS Series
Author: Julia Crane
# of Books: 3 (Freak of Nature, Fractured Innocence, Fatal Abduction)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: No, Fatal Abduction is to be published
Genre: Young Adult/New Adult, Science Fiction, Romance, Action
Heat Rating: really warm (for a young adult novel)
Point of View: Third Person

Thoughts:

PLEASE NOTE: This review is a part of review blitz for the IFICS series put on by Julia Crane’s publicist. I was contacted by her assistant publicist to do a review on the first two books of the series.

My previous exposure to Julia Crane’s work was with the Keegan Chronicles and that wasn’t a totally positive experience. The writing was choppy and the story just didn’t grab my attention the way I was hoping. But I am all for second chances and when I read the synopsis for Freak of Nature, I knew this book was more my tastes.

The writing in Freak of Nature is much smoother than it was in Coexist. It was easy to follow and more importantly flowed smoothly. While third person narration is not my favourite POV form, it works well for this series. I think it would be hard to read the series as a first person POV from Kaitlyn given that she doesn’t fully think like a human. Plus, it added to the story to get a feel for what was happening around Kaitlyn when she wasn’t there. This was especially important in Fractured Innocence–and one of my favourite parts of the book.

Freak of Nature was interesting, just slow to me. It seemed like an extended novella of sorts because it really set the stage for the world the series is set in. The plot was very singular in its delivery: there really isn’t much going on other than Kaitlyn learning the truth about her human past.

While reading Freak of Nature, I kept drawing parallels to Mila 2.0 by Debra Driza. Both are extremely similar novels but I found that Freak of Nature focuses more on the romantic side of things and more on Kaitlyn’s relationships with other people while Mila 2.0 focuses more on the action and what it means to be human. Two completely different takes on a similar Science Fiction element.

To me, Freak of Nature seemed to be struggling with identifying itself as a Young Adult read or a New Adult read. At first I labelled it as a Young Adult read but it was a much more mature Young Adult read in terms of sexual content. With Fractured Innocence, it was more obvious to me that it was more a New Adult read; it deals with some heavy content that not everyone will be comfortable reading.

Fractured Innocence touches on a subject that not a lot of Young Adult/New Adult books do. I enjoyed reading that aspect of the book because I think it is a subject people need to be more aware of. I felt like it was handled in an extremely mature and realistic way which I always appreciate. Though, as I said before, it might make some people uncomfortable reading it because it is a hard thing to stomach.

I was hoping Fractured Innocence was going to be faster paced and more action focused: it wasn’t. At the halfway point they were still sitting around doing nothing and the characters even complain about it in the book. When we do get the action, it lasts for 2-3 chapters and the remainder of the book it coming to terms with everything that happened, which isn’t that much. It kept my attention though because of the added POV and the anticipation that something was going to happen; but nothing ever really did. I was alos expecting more character development but it didn’t seem to happen either.

I’m undecided about whether or not I will be reading Fatal Abduction. It sounds like it will be more exciting and reviews I have seen have all been very positive so maybe one day in the future I will pick it up.

Conclusion:

This series reminds me a lot of the CW TV show Nikita (one of my all time favourite shows) just with a teen aged cyborg as the lead instead. However, it’s slower paced and not as action focused as I personally like when reading this type of genre. Nothing really blew my socks off but for those who like singular plot lines or want to dabble in Young Adult Science Fiction, this might be a series that is worth your time.

Rating: 2.5/5
Would I Recommend this Series to a Friend: Probably to a younger friend who wanted a taste of SciFi.

Similar Reads: Mila 2.0 by Debra Driza (Mila 2.0 Trilogy)

Synopsis for Freak of Nature (from Goodreads):
Donate Body to Science. Check.
When seventeen-year-old Kaitlyn checked the box, she never suspected she’d have her life–and her body–stolen from her. She awakens one day in a secret laboratory to discover that her body is now half-robot and is forced to hide her own secret: that she still has human emotions and a human mind. If the scientists who made her find out, they’ll erase what remains of who she was.

 

Freak

FIND IT ON GOODREADS: http://bit.ly/FONGR

FIND IT ON AMAZON: http://bit.ly/FONAMAZON

FIND IT ON BARNES AND NOBLE: http://bit.ly/FONBNB

Fractured

FIND IT ON GOODREADS: http://bit.ly/FrInGR

FIND IT ON AMAZON: http://bit.ly/FIAmazon

FIND IT AT BARNES AND NOBLE: http://bit.ly/FrInBN

~*~ABOUT THE AUTHOR~*~

Julia crane is the author of the Keegan’s Chronicles, IFICS. She has a bachelors degree in criminal justice. Julia has believed in magical creatures since the day her grandmother first told her an Irish tale. Growing up her mother greatly encouraged reading and using your imagination.

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/juliacraneauthor

WEBSITE: www.juliacrane.com

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/JuliaCrane2

DNF Series Review: Hart by Ann Stewart and Stephanie Nash

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

The Hart Series

 book2 book3

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Guilty Pleasure Read 2014
Series: The Hart Series
Author: Ann Stewart and Stephanie Nash
# of Books: 3 (Chosen Heart, Shattered Heart, Destined Heart)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Drama, Soap Opera, Workplace Romance
Heat Rating: getting hot
Point of View: First Person

Thoughts on Chosen Heart:

Disclaimer: I will not be picking up the sequel, Shattered Heart. Find out why below…

When I read the synopsis for this book when browsing Kindle’s Bestseller Freebie lists, I was really excited to read it. Never mind the other 100 books that I had previously acquired for my Kindle or the books I had out from the library–I had to read this one. The whole “you don’t marry your dirty little secret” line of the synopsis is what really drew me in. In my mind, that meant I was in for some good drama and a dash of mystery so I was there.

My initial impression of Chosen Heart was that is was very Fifty Shades of Grey-esque. A younger, just starting out in the real world (in this case a new job) girl meets a mysterious rich, slightly older man; has a best friend who is in love with her and features the classic “I’ll save you” at the bar scene. But to be fair to this book, it isn’t a regurgitation of Fifty Shades. Yes it has similar elements but I didn’t feel as though I was rereading Fifty Shades. Another key difference is that this book features an alpha male but one who isn’t super rich or into BDSM–so score there on that last point (unless you like that kind of thing)! So while this book starts as your typical contemporary, business setting romance it moves in a completely different direction.

The best way to describe this book is as a soap opera in a novel. There is a lot of back and forth between Alex and Elyssa in terms of their relationship and there are plenty of rivals for their affections at every turn. The last quarter of the book is the very definition of a soap opera to me when everything starts to come together and the drama unfolds. I felt like I was watching an episode of Dallas because it got very soapy near the end 😛

Truth be told, I probably would have stopped reading it because it felt like it was dragging at times. It’s weird to say that things were dragging considering everything really happens in a matter of days but it just seemed like it was the same regurgitation of things: he likes me, he ignores me, we reunite, we stop talking, ex-boyfriend shows up, etc. But this book kind-of became a guilty pleasure to me because I really wanted to know what all the secrets were. And I have to say that while I had my suspicions about what they would be and I was correct, there were a few good spins that I didn’t see coming that really added to the over-the-top drama.

I had a bit of a love-hate relationship with the characters of Alex and Elyssa. Sometimes I would like them and other times I just wanted to smack them on the head. I never really liked Elyssa to be honest though there were a few moments I thought I might get on her side. She just rubbed me the wrong way with how she handled things and I felt like she was expecting too much from something that happened so quickly. She makes a lot of assumptions about things and sometimes the assumptions seemed so out of left field. Though to be fair, Alex was just as bad with his assumptions as well.

Alex was a very alpha male character and I didn’t feel that it was totally warranted at times considering they just met. I also felt like he was just going through the motions of the stereotypical alpha male but was missing a few things along the way. I didn’t always get how he got from point A to B–I just felt like he was missing a piece to his character here and there. Most of the time I think it was used to create drama for the reader but all it did for me was irritate me because it seemed to be so senseless. But I did like him when he expressed his views about the “big freshman secret” because he was completely right in my opinion–even if I didn’t like his physical reaction to it.

As I was finishing this book, I sort-of came to the conclusion that I wouldn’t be reading the sequel. I didn’t love Chosen Hart as much as I thought and I really didn’t see what could happen in a sequel–so I wasn’t about to subject myself to more “he loves me, he loves me not” chapters. But once I got to the final few chapters, I found myself curious to see what would happen next. I think if my reading list permits it, I will check out the sequel but as of this moment, I am going to leave the series as is and finish it at a later time.

Conclusion:

If you are looking for a good soap opera book, this is it. I felt like I was watching an episode of the Bold and the Beautiful unfold before my eyes as I read. A definite guilty pleasure read!

Rating: 2.5/5

Similar Reads: Fifty Shades of Gray by E.L. James (Fifty Shades Trilogy #1) and Wanted by Kelly Elliot (Wanted Series #1)

Synopsis for Chosen Heart (from Goodreads):
Elyssa Hart has tried to forget that frightful night during her freshman year of college. Since then it’s been hard to let anyone close, which is why she only has one friend near and dear to her heart. Forsaking all others, she lives a silent, lonely existence. That was until she jumped into the next chapter of her life; Sales Executive at the prestigious Salerno Health, Inc.

The moment she met the always calm and collected Alexander James, her life was set on a new path. One moment she’s slowly falling in love and the next she’s plummeting painfully to the ground with the realization that you don’t marry your dirty little secret; you keep her in the closet. That was, until she found out she was not his only kept secret.

Will the enigma of Mr. James be more than Elyssa can handle? Or will she choose him, like she promised she always would.

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Series Review: Three Irish Brothers by Joanna Mazurkiewicz

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

Other Books in the Series:
book2 book3

Series: Three Irish Brothers
Author: Joanna Mazurkiewicz
# of Books: 3 (Beautiful Pain, book 2, book 3)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Unknown
Genre: New Adult, Mature, Emotional, British
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: Third Person

Thoughts on Beautiful Pain:

I actually got this book for free one day for both my Kobo and Kindle. Since then it has gone up in price but I wouldn’t have been overly upset if I had paid the two dollars for it.

I think it is important to highlight the fact that this book is British. It’s written by a British author so it has that style of writing we aren’t completely used to this side of the pond. It tends to be very proper, not as many contractions in the sentences and not much slang–it almost comes across as mechanical to readers who typically read North American literature. Because I read a lot more North American books than British, it always throws me for a bit of a loop but I do read quite a few British novels so I easily get accustomed to that.

So it could easily be a product of the book being British in origin or maybe people in British are super mature: but I just found the dialogue to be a little awkward and overly mature for the age of the characters. I’m the same age as Sophia and no one I know talks like she does so I found that hard to accept at times. But given her past I wouldn’t be surprised if she is just that next level of maturity.

Out of all the freebie books that I have, I choose to read this one because the concept it really cool and different from other books out there. I mean, Harry is the ultimate bad boy and the element of Sophia being his probation officer is something I have never encountered before. It’s an interesting spin on things I think it is executed fairly well all things considered.

Unfortunately, I didn’t really understand Sophia and Harry’s relationship and how it worked between them. Their relationship is essentially built on lust and the “unspoken” connection between them. I don’t particularly care for these “unspoken”/love-at-first-sight-deal stories so I really didn’t get how they worked together or why they liked each other. I supposed it improved as we went but I never really got it to be honest–which is a shame because I really wanted to love them together.

I want to really stress that this book can be very dark at times. Although it is told through a 3rd person narration, there are times when we get a first person POV from Sophia when she describes her past. Nothing is really held back which I both appreciate and find uncomfortable at the same time. I find it’s hard to read in the mind of someone who has an abusive or depression filled past because it can be very dark and very emotional. On this regard, the book really excelled at conveying those feelings. It made Sophia seem very real and more than just a character in the book.

Conclusion:

Overall, this book didn’t really float my boat. I liked it and can appreciate it; but not enough to watch out for the rest of the series. I’m not particularly interested in the next set of characters but I’m not so turned off of the idea of picking the sequel up if it happens to be free on Amazon again. For those who want a darker New Adult read, this is a solid choice; especially if you like Ireland 😉

Rating: 2.5/5

Similar Reads: Release Me by J. Kenner (Stark Trilogy #1)

Synopsis for Beautiful Pain (from Goodreads):

My decisions were always wrong. I needed to get away from London, I wanted to start from scratch in Belfast, escape from the life that I didn’t want.

Working for Probation Service for the whole summer was going to give me the experience that I needed. I always felt much better when I could help people whose lives were shattered.

My parents told me that I wasn’t ready and I wouldn’t make it through but I was determined to show them that the past was behind me.

I had three months to forget about my bad memories, about the pain and my scars. Then I run straight into him, throwing it all to the wind, falling into a trap of love and lust.

Harry O’Donaghue was a local offender. At our first meeting he gave me the impression that he didn’t care about what I had to say and didn’t want to be evaluated by a stupid young girl like me.

Harry wasn’t an easy subject, either when it came to straight forward conversation about his future or about the crimes that he had committed.

Harry had a secret and everything suddenly became complicated. He was bad to be around, bad for me in every respect, but I still allowed him take me to paradise…

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Series Review: Keegan’s Chronicles by Julia Crane

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

book2 book3

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Biggest Disappointments 2014
Series: Keegan’s Chronicles
Author: Julia Crane
# of Books: 3 (Coexist, Conflicted, Consumed)

There are 4 spinoff series to read. Find the full list here.

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Teen, Fantasy, Elves, Romance, Action, Drama
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: Third Person

Thoughts on Coexist:

Disclaimer: I will not be picking up the sequel Conflicted. Find out why below…

Coexist has been on my to-buy and read list for a good amount of time. The main reason is because it focuses on elves and I haven’t been able to find many stories about elves–most books deal with faeries so that intrigued me. I also hoped it would be what the Laurel series wasn’t to me. At a price of $0.99 (CAD) I had no problem picking it up BUT it was free on Amazon one day so I grabbed it for my Kindle.

In the end, I’m glad I didn’t pay for this book: it was such a huge disappointment for me.

I’ll start with the writing: it’s very choppy and almost mechanical in its execution. It just didn’t flow very well and seemed to be mostly dialogue and thoughts. The third person narration makes things very confusing. I found it hard to differentiate between who was thinking what and when because I thought we were following one character and then it would jump to another. Simple line breaks between a change in character focus would have helped a lot with this but the writing in general is nothing fantastic.

Keegan was another let down. I had hoped for a strong female lead that wouldn’t annoy me like Laurel from the Laurel Series did. Laurel was annoying, but I didn’t find her overly annoying until book 2; but with Keegan, I disliked her immediately. She is just so petty and immature that I had a hard time liking her. She is extremely spoiled and selfish and that just grated on my nerves. My biggest problem with her was how she handled her chosen mate situation and her thought process regarding her dating life. Too be fair, she is 16–but man, it was painful to roll my eyes by the end of it and painful to endure her thoughts.

As for the plot, it wasn’t overly excited. It does pick up and have some interesting elements to it but nothing I haven’t seen before or anything that made me want to keep reading nonstop.

Conclusion:

While I am intrigued by how the book ended, I won’t be picking up book 2 anytime soon–or ever. I have read a lot better–freebies or not–and I want to spend my limited time on something a little more exciting and at my age level (and to be fair I wouldn’t have enjoyed this at the age of 16 either).

Rating: 2.5/5

Similar Reads: Wings by Aprilyne Pike (Laurel Series #1)

Synopsis for Keegan’s Chronicles (from Goodreads):
Sixteen-year-old Keegan is struggling to keep her huge secret from her friends–she’s an elf, descended from a long line of elves that live in secrecy alongside humans.

In elfin society, mates are predetermined but not allowed to meet until they are eighteen. Against tradition, Keegan’s brother Thaddeus told her Rourk’s name because his visions warned him she’d need Rourk’s protection, especially since Keegan will play a key role in the coming war between the dark and light elves.

Rourk finds himself drawn to Keegan’s side every time she thinks his name. He wants to talk to her but remains in the shadows, silently guarding her every time she mentally beckons him. A twist of fate thrusts the two of them together when Rourk is forced to step up his protection and make his presence known.

An ancient prophecy deeply entwines Keegan’s family and the future of their society. Somehow they must find a way to thwart fate and win the battle…without losing Keegan. With war brewing, and dark forces aligning, will Keegan and Rourk ever have the life together that they both desire?

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